Background Info: (Taken from Colaborate Leader Guide)
Some of the earliest glimpses of worship in the Old Testament contain elements of confession and forgiveness. when asked by hi disciples how they ought to pray, Jesus gave a response that included confession and forgiveness between us and God, and between us and others. A clean heart is an integral party of coming before God in worship.
We often think of confession as a private practice, but one of the functions of the church is for us to confess together. Confession as part of a larger community of faith helps us recognize that our sins have real-life repercussions; our responsibility in confession is part acknowledgment and, where possible, part restoration. It also helps us avoid feeling like we are the worst of sinners, instead, we are reminded that we're all in this together.
Is it necessary to confess if God already knows where we have fallen short? A better question might be whether iti s necessary for us to confess. How do we live faithfully without acknowledging where we have gone against God's intentions for our lives? And hearing a pronouncement of forgiveness can be a powerful reminder of God's mercy. It reassures us that sin does not have the final word. That doesn't mean we need to present an all-inclusive laundry list of our sins in order to be forgiven. We believe that confession is a healthy part of our faithful response to God, but forgiveness comes through the grace of God, not because we remember to confess every little sin and get everything just right. When Luther was a friar in the Augustinian monastery, he did what he'd been taught. He went to confession on a regular basis and confessed every sin he could remember he had committee. Sometimes he would leave confession and remember something he'd forgotten to list, and he would run back to confess that thing. The demand to confess everything began to tear him apart. No matter how hard he tried to be better, he always saw more he needed to change. At one point Johann Staupitz, the head of his order of monks, told him to go away and not come back until he'd committed a real sin. What Luther eventually learned was that the real sin that lay under it all had to do with is own will. He didn't want God to be God. He wanted to be in charge himself.
That meant he had to start living his life as someone Christ had saved. It became a process of letting go of himself and of getting used to being forgiven. What's more, Luther began to look for and even demand the forgiveness Jesus had promised. That's what is at the heart of confession and forgiveness--not just what God does for us, but what this process tells us about who we are in God.
Share a low from the past week.
Parents/Guardians be sure to share as well!
God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
How might confessing our sins change us?
What are some of the differences between confessing to someone else, confessing directly to God in private prayer, or confessing silently in a group setting like worship?